A commercial building’s indoor air quality (IAQ) has broad implications for the businesses and individuals within it. Poor air quality can diminish worker well-being, dampen productivity, and even increase the risk of illness for all occupants. Conversely, clean indoor air produces a more comfortable, healthy, and productive environment.
Ideally, every area of a commercial building will offer pure air and reasonable temperatures. However, when it comes to improving your property’s IAQ, some spaces are more pressing than others. For starters, certain activities, materials, and locations make an area more prone to IAQ issues than others. Moreover, some rooms within a commercial property receive more traffic and activity than others. So, while those in charge of facility maintenance should aim to improve IAQ across the board, they should prioritize certain spaces above others – doing so saves time and cuts energy costs while optimizing the benefits for occupants.
With that in mind, let’s go over which areas are most important to focus on when adjusting the indoor air quality of your commercial building.
Indoor air quality takes a hit whenever pollutants are present inside your building. These pollutants (such as biological contaminants, chemicals, and particles) might originate from outside your building or from within – the important thing is knowing what they are and how to control them at the source, as this will provide an immediate path for higher quality indoor air. Put simply, any areas inside your building that regularly receive or produce pollutants are among the first places that require your attention.
Some examples of pollution-rich areas inside a commercial building include manufacturing zones (which often involve high heat, fuel, dust, and chemicals), waste removal areas, and loading/receiving areas. Keeping up with regular building cleaning protocols will help reduce the amount of pollution that lingers in the air, but additional interventions are also required to maintain high IAQ more efficiently, such as improving ventilation, filtration, and air purification, where it counts most.
As mentioned above, pollution that ends up in your building doesn’t always originate there. We often refer to external air as “fresh air,” but the open air is actually filled with pollutants that, if not anticipated and dealt with immediately, can wind up lingering inside your commercial property. These outdoor pollutants include “criteria pollutants” (carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide), hazardous air pollutants (hundreds of harmful chemicals in our environment), and natural substances like pollen, mold spores, and dust.
All of the above outdoor pollutants (along with differentials in humidity and temperature) can enter a facility in numerous ways, but the easiest method of delivery comes when doors and windows that lead directly outdoors are left open. As such, any area in your building where outdoor and indoor air meet (such as building entrances and exits) deserve high levels of attention when managing IAQ. Without proper methods of indoor climate control, your building’s indoor air can become more like the air outside – to make matters worse, this polluted air can become trapped inside a room’s walls, quickly diminishing its IAQ.
If the primary reason to improve IAQ at your commercial facility is to cultivate a healthier and more comfortable environment for all occupants, it follows that any area where people regularly congregate would be an important target for IAQ maintenance. These precise locations will differ from one building to the next, but general areas to consider include hallways, cafeterias, manufacturing/warehouse areas, lobbies, conference rooms, event spaces – the list goes on. The COVID-19 pandemic served as a reminder that maintaining clean air in public settings is vital to reducing the spread of transmissible airborne disease, which is why air disinfection for coronavirus, in particular, has become a major priority for many businesses and schools over the past couple of years. These lessons apply beyond COVID-19, of course.
Controlling the air conditions within your commercial building is vital for maintaining a more comfortable and healthy environment. However, getting a handle on your property’s IAQ is about more than just health and comfort. Many buildings feature areas and equipment that are highly sensitive to changes in humidity, temperature, and, in some cases, particulate matter. The wrong calibration of these factors can result in serious damage, safety concerns, or complete system failure. Facility management staffers need to pay attention to these matters day in and day out or else risk seriously hurting their business’ bottom line.
The categories mentioned above require the most frequent and dedicated attention in regard to indoor air quality. But in truth, IAQ (like all building maintenance) is a comprehensive matter, meaning every area within a commercial building counts – even those areas that don’t get a whole lot of use. The key is understanding which factors contribute most to IAQ and which actions will provide better IAQ for your property on the whole. The experts at The Budd Group have deep experience with these matters, which has allowed us to vastly improve IAQ for countless clients. Our BreatheWell Program combines state-of-the-art IAQ monitoring with HVAC improvements and air filtration/purification installation where it matters most.
To learn more about this program and our wide range of services, give us a call today at 800-221-8158!
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